Higher Ed in the News: 3/22

Photo by Max Böttinger on Unsplash.

This week, a look at how younger generations feel about the four-year degree (not great!) and a survey reveals the ways Title IX in its current state does not do enough to protect students.

You can read last week’s edition of this series here!

Four-year Colleges Less Appealing to Gen Z High Schoolers

According to a recent news segment on Cheddar, a dwindling number of high school students see traditional four-year colleges as their best course of action post-graduation.

“The pandemic has accelerated [student’s] discomfort with the return on investment in traditional four-year university pursuits,” ECMC Group President and CEO Jeremy Wheaton said. 

Wheaton joined the news network to share more details: 71% of students surveyed by ECMC Group in May of 2020 said they were likely to attend a four-year college, but only 53% feel the same way as of January 2021. This 18% dip is partially attributed to the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 29% of respondents less likely to attend a four-year college in the aftermath of the global health crisis.

The ECMC Group results also reveal that 61% of surveyed students see skills-based education to be more sensible than the traditional college experience, with 52% of them confident that they can be successful in the professional world by spending three or fewer years in a post-secondary program. Also, these students are more focused on efficiently gaining the proper tools to “pursue a job they’re passionate about” and find it more important to be properly trained in their desired field than attend a four-year college to fit society’s expectations.

Wheaton thinks Higher Ed can curb this trend by working to tie its education programs better to future career skills and also by sharing more information with high school counselors about financial aid, scholarships, and grants as well as academic innovation.

How Title IX in its current state is insufficient for supporting students

A recent report outlined the experiences of those who report issues such as sexual assault to their school. The results paint a disappointing picture of Title IX enforcement. While some Besty DeVos-era measures made Title IX enforcement even weaker, President Biden has called for a review of Title IX, so perhaps new guidelines are on the way.

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf shares some of the most troubling findings of this report for Higher Education Dive:

“One student said a call to her campus Title IX office to report her assault was never returned. Another student who attempted to report said a Title IX coordinator told her “if you don’t want to report it and ruin his life, you don’t have to,” after the survivor raised concerns about jeopardizing the accused students’ immigration status. 

Seventy percent of survivors who informed their school about their assaults said they experienced “adverse effects on their safety and privacy,” and 15% said their schools punished them or threatened to do so “in connection with coming forward.”

The report emphasized the importance for schools to provide mental health support and 24/7 access to confidential crisis lines. Georgetown offers a wide range of mental health support for students and faculty.